Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pope Names Protestant to Head Pontifical Academy of Sciences

Pope Benedict XVI named Nobel laureate Werner Arber, a Protestant, to head the Vatican’s scientific academy, the first time a non-Catholic is heading the centuries-old body.

The 81-year old Swiss microbiologist and geneticist will succeed the late Italian Nicola Cabibbo, to lead the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The nomination of a non-Catholic head is the first in the history of the academy founded in 1603.

Werner Arber's discovery of an enzyme that could cleave long strands of DNA led to a revolution in genetics research, providing the foundation that led to techniques to separate and reassemble basic genetic material. Gene splicing, as it was called, proved invaluable for DNA sequencing and gene mapping, which focuses on genetic organization. The most controversial outcome of this research, however, was the eventual manipulation of DNA structures by geneticists, first in test tubes and then in vivo, or within a living organism.[1] These discoveries, in turn, inspired Paul Berg, also known as father of genetic engineering, resulted in the development of a new technology, which gave birth to biotechnology. [2]

Dr. Arber has had a hand in genetically modified foods that are being produced today. He believes that genetically modified crops could be the answer to the world's food shortage, under the false premice that there is a  rapid growth of human population. He said genetically engineered crops would not only be able to meet increasing food consumption and help reduce hunger in the world, but could also provide the nutrients much needed by both humans and animals.[3]

But there is a flaw in this plan. Although GMOs are accepted by the group who are planning the future, there is definitely a serious down-side in their use. By using GMOs, they can change the makeup of animals, thus creating a slippery slope resulting in the cloning of people, or other similar prospects. And, making plants and animals that are resistant to bacteria can cause bacteria to become stronger and harder to kill. Making plants herbicide resistant can lead to weeds that are herbicide resistant, as well. 

The Vatican has never taken a formal position supporting or opposing the use of genetically modified foods. There is a group within the US government who believe that pressing the Vatican for its blessing will gain the approval of a wide segment of the population in Europe, and the developing world.[4][5]

So, it is interesting that this particular individual was appointed to such a prestigious position. Has Dr. Arber been positioned to provide the science the Pope needs to accept the use of genetically modified foods, thus creating the slippery slope which will result in manipulating the DNA of organisms to forge new life forms? I'd say that his appointment is all about the approval of GMOs and transhumanism. Let's see what happens.